Act V DVD Commentary

The fifth act of most Greek tragedies will consist of long speeches, sometimes by mortally wounded people who take a ridiculously long time to expire(Hippolytus!), and often a Deux Ex Machina, where a god comes down and gives a command or explains things, or possibly just makes more speeches, and some final thoughts, often including some notices on everyone's fate. Most of these elements annoy me, so I tossed them out(though some can argue the DEM came in an act early in the form of Dooku), but I kept the last one, because I liked it.
From about the time I wrote Act III, I knew this series was going to end on the "Death" prompt, because it was going to end with Anakin and Dooku's death and that of Padmé's heart, and it would foreshadow her physical death as well. This is a real "shadow of death" ending. It was posted on July 21st as the 40th Padmé AU.

Padmé wondered if the Force had given her heart to Darth Vader solely to compel her into murdering Darth Tyranus. Then she thought that if she was pregnant, that had more likely than not been the Force’s intended end result. Eventually she decided that she was done with explanations about causes and divine intentions.

I've always been ambivalent about predestination. On one hand, it's a great dramatic device, on the other, I much prefer it when my characters have free will. Greek tragedies, of course, are all about predestination, as is Star Wars, so I had to go along with it here, but I would at least have my characters caring more about what happened then what was supposed to happen, and taking a cheap shot at the whole idea here was *way* too easy. It also brought Padmé back down to the mundane, because, of course, she's no metaphysical Jedi, so can take a more scientific down-to-Naboo view of the universe than them; it's a character trait of hers that I like.

Ordinarily she didn’t think anyone could have done what she had done. The envoys of the Emperor were said to be skilled enough in telepathy to know when people were intending to kill them, and Darth Tyranus was known for his skill with a lightsaber. But when Padmé had been standing with him looming over her, having just told her he’d killed Vader, her clutching Vader’s lightsaber tightly and trying not to cry or faint, her brain had given him no warning, because even as she had lifted her hand and raised the lightsaber into position, she genuinely hadn’t realized that she was going to kill the man, until she had thumbed the switch and ignited the blade right through his heart.

Her rage finally taking her, and then gone in a heartbeat, emptying her soul of life as it went.

This description is what you typically get from Greek tragedies, though more often in the fourth act than the fifth, and typically much longer and a bit more gory. However, I prefer it the way it is. ;-)

She hoped Tyranus wasn’t wanted for anything that day. She herself wouldn’t be missed until the evening, when she was supposed to show up for another performance of the play. By then she intended to be off Naboo and on a starship headed for the Outer Rim. Anywhere on the Outer Rim. It didn’t matter where just yet.

She’d stayed just long enough in her apartment to get dressed and gather all her money. She’d taken Vader’s lightsaber too, concealed in her cloak. It was said that only the Emperor’s envoys could wield the weapons, but it was the only weapon on hand, and she wasn’t traveling around without one, not when as soon as the envoy's body was discovered in her quarters she was going to become a wanted woman.

And yes, there was the emotional reason for keeping it too. Now that Vader was dead and she was safe from him, she could love him freely. She even felt no guilt over how her heart was torn in half by the grief.

She wouldn’t have even cared if she had been caught and killed-as she certainly would be were she caught, if it wasn’t for the possibility that she was pregnant.

If she was, she knew, then the baby would have the same powers as Vader. But he or she would not suffer their father’s fate. She would see to that.

Padmé, of course, has absolutely no way of knowing that she's pregnant with twins, though the reader would know better.

Everybody knew that the Emperor had wiped out the old Jedi Order, the only people who could have broken his reign of terror. But secretly, everybody also knew that a few of them had survived. You heard the stories every now and then. Someone swore up and down that he’d seen a known Jedi, or that someone in a fight in some shady bar deep in a city had broken out a lightsaber, for the Jedi used them too, had been the first to do so in fact. It was said they were gathered in refuges which changed location every time they were spoken of, and that one day they would emerge and overthrow the Emperor.

In the spaceport, a heavy hood thrown over her head out of the fear of recognition by the wrong person, or by anyone at all, she walked amoung people and sat quietly, sometimes near those she had identified as holding tickets for the same transport as herself, but more often near others whom she would not get the chance to listen to again. She listened for any gossip, any remote hints, or where a Jedi might be found. A Jedi who could take her child and his father’s lightsaber, and claim them both for the cause of restoring good to the galaxy. It was an absurd fancy, she knew, but she thought her child might just be the one to win them their victory. Certainly if the Emperor overlooked her and her baby, it would be all the worse for him.

This last sentence, of course, deliberately recalls the line from the play she was reciting earlier.

She had nine months to find the Jedi. She wasn’t sure how long she would live after giving birth, but she knew it would not be very long at all.

I was able to end the story here with this line, because I felt it established all that needed to be established, and the reader could fill in the rest. However, for the meme I mentioned at the beginning of this commentary, I elaborated on things very slightly with my third fact about this version of Padmé:

3. Her life panned out exactly as planned; shortly before she gave birth she found Obi-Wan Kenobi, so she granted the twins to his care and died two days after their birth.